Smith Still Not Cleared; Niners May Have to Go With Kaepernick vs Saints

Offensive coordinator Greg Roman said that no decision has been made on the 49ers’ starting quarterback for Sunday’s game against the Saints, and quarterback Alex Smith has yet to receive medical clearance to return to game action after sustaining a concussion.

Smith was listed as taking part in “limited practice” Thursday, and the 49ers publicly kept the door open for both quarterbacks to start Sunday. But there can be no debate until Smith is cleared to play.

“No decision has been made,” Roman said. “We’re hopeful that Alex gets cleared tomorrow, physically. We’re confident in both quarterbacks being on the field.”

Coach Jim Harbaugh was seen speaking with Smith coming off the practice field on Thursday. Later, Harbaugh pulled aside running back Frank Gore and tight end Vernon Davis for a conversation.

“He talked to us, and we had a chance to let him know what we thought and things like that, but at the end of the day, it’s not our decision,” Davis said.

“It doesn’t matter. Whatever we decide to do, I’m sure it’ll work out in our favor, whether it’s Colin Kaepernick or whether it’s Alex. At the end of the day, we have two good quarterbacks regardless of the situation.”

Davis said he expects Harbaugh to make a decision before the 49ers depart Friday afternoon for New Orleans.

“I’m sure he’ll probably announce tomorrow (Friday) who’s the starting quarterback,” Davis said. “It’s not my decision. Alex looks good in practice. Kaepernick looks good in practice. I know Alex still has some concussions things lingering around. Maybe he’s ready, maybe he’s not. That’s up to the doctors and the coaches.”

Sports Illustrated reported Wednesday that Smith was informed that Colin Kaepernick would start Sunday and that his concussion is not an issue. Trent Dilfer of ESPN reported that Smith told him that Kaepernick would receive the first-team practice snaps this week but no other decision was made. And ESPN’s Ed Werder reported Thursday that Smith has already received final medical clearance.

Roman contradicted those reports.


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